Alarm Over Increasing Alcohol Harm In Thai Women, Girls
Women and girls in Thailand suffer increasingly from alcohol-related harm. As alcohol companies target their marketing towards Thai girls and women, consumption increases and so do associated harms. At the same time, women are still greatly affected by men’s alcohol use, for example due to triggered violence.
A large majority of older secondary schoolgirls in Thailand reportedly consume more than five glasses of alcohol during alcohol consumption sessions, a recent study shows.
The new study was presented at a Bangkok policy seminar, organized by Stop Drink Network (a member organization of IOGT International), Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation (WMP), and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth). The title of the policy seminar was “Truth about women and alcohol: Impacts to be burdened”.
Alcohol harm in girls fueled by industry marketing
Savitree Assanangkornchai, director of the Centre for Alcohol Studies, told the audience that one in 50 Thai women consumed alcohol on a weekly basis because of easy access, the desire to socialise and party with others, and alcohol advertising. She also said 75% of surveyed teenage girls in the last two years of secondary school responded that they consumed more than five glasses of alcohol when engaging in alcohol use. That constitutes binge alcohol intake and is a worrying development among girls in Thailand.
Health problems in women: cancer and other NCDs
In addition to problems related to alcohol use such as accidents, fights and sexual harassment, Savitree warned that alcohol affected women differently because their metabolism was slower than men’s, which could cause chronic illnesses such as breast cancer. Women consuming alcohol during their pregnancies and while breastfeeding also risked their foetuses and babies’ development, she added.
Violence against women fueled by alcohol
Angkhana Inthasa, head of WMP gender equality promotion, cited a 2012-2016 joint report finding that among 1,136 women subjected to domestic and sexual violence, about 29.3% or 333 cases reportedly stemmed from alcohol consumption. She said the number of female alcohol users was on the rise and contributing factors were stress and targeted promotion campaigns by alcohol companies. In families with male alcohol users, female members were also disproportionately subjected to aggression and violence, and in some cases male alcohol users then committed sexual assaults, rape or physical assault, she said.